SW​:​S Retreat - April 26​-​28, 2013

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    All purchases are tax-deductible donations to SongwritingWith:Soldiers. Our mission is to hold retreats that pair professional songwriters with military veterans to write songs about their experiences of combat and returning home.
    Participating military service members include Chris Chirco, Dustin Crites, Palermo Deschamps, Todd Hanna, Kathi Long, AJ Merrifield, Stacy Pearsall, Nikki Shaw, Winni Smith, and Dustin Wright.
    These songs are their stories and are recorded on site at retreats. They capture a song just hours after being written, like the song taking its first breath.
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1.
BE RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Nikki Shaw / Dustin Wright / Robin Meade / Darrell Scott / Darden Smith I never dreamed I would find you In the middle of my war When the bitterness can blind you Make you forget your living for I’ve got no illusions I’m a hard one to love But I think we can do this And we rise above Let that sand in the hour glass run Let the past be past what’s done is done We’ll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes And be right here right now There’s a new moon rising There’s a wide open road Don’t know where we’re going This is the great unknown But here’s what I’m saying We’re making this up (as we go) I think we can do this And we can rise above No fake fronts No brick walls Here and now We have it all
2.
I'm A Soldier Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson / Darrell Scott To go where no one would dare to go And do those things that no one would dare to do Do not expect anyone to volunteer for but I will go there I will go there because I am a soldier I am a soldier I will go there I will fight for the freedom of all men I'm a soldier I will go there I’m your father mother sister brother friend I’m the one you want to be there For your children for your country till the end I'm a soldier I will go there Count on me again again and again till the end In the heat of battle or in the cool of peace Rest assured I have your back no matter what it is In the light of day in the dark of night Don't you worry I’m ready for the fight I'm a soldier I will go there I will fight for the freedom of all men I'm a soldier I will go there I’m your father mother sister brother friend I’m the one you want to be there for you For your children for your country till the end I'm a soldier I will go there You can count on me again and again and again I’m the one you want to be there for your children for your country amen I'm a soldier I will go there I will fight for the freedom of all women and men I'm a soldier I will go there I’m your father mother sister brother friend I’m the one you want to be there For your children for your country amen I'm a soldier I will go there You can count on me again and again and again till the end I'm a soldier I'm a soldier
3.
I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE Chris Chirco / Darrell Scott I'm not supposed to be here, I'm not supposed to tell I'm to lie down in this darkness and live here in this hell Make believe that nothing happened, make believe I'm still ok This pain inside me fights me and will not go away It never goes away I'm not supposed to be here. I'm the accidental child I live my accidental lifetime, and live in your denial But I will break this code of silence, this shame is killing me I will break the chains that bind me, this caged bird will be free I'm not supposed to be here, I'm not supposed to tell I'm to lie down in my darkness and live here in this hell Make believe that nothing happened, make believe that I'm ok Oh the pain inside me fights me and will not go away If I am supposed to be here, with all my strength renewed Then demons, I dispatch you to the dark side of the moon And there you will be watching me as my life from you begins When i know i'm supposed to be here I will have my true revenge I will have my true revenge
4.
ILLUSTRATED MAN Dustin Crites / Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith Let me tell you a story Written on my skin Might help you understand The shape I’m in This one’s for my buddy He’s gone as gone can be Every time that I reach out He’s right in front of me This one’s for my love On the inside of my arm She’s my little geisha Keeps me safe and warm You might think I’m crazy Might think I don’t have a plan I’m just a decorated soldier I’m an illustrated man I got four letters on one hand Four more on my right Hit’em with love then hit’em with hope When somebody wants to fight I’ve got a few dark secrets That won’t ever let me be I put ‘em in the places That very few can see But baby if you love me You can take a closer look This ink is just a bookmark Baby I’m an open book You might think I’m crazy Might think I don’t have a plan I’m just a decorated soldier I’m an illustrated man Highly decorated soldier I’m an illustrated man © 2013 SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music © 2013 Darden Smith Music © 2013 Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP)
5.
INVOLUNTARY ERECTION Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson Involuntary erection That’s what happened to me When my parachute didn’t open And I fell a thousand feet When you fall too hard right on your back And your nerves don’t know how to react And you get an involuntary erection There’s only one cure for me My soldier came to attention looking at the ceiling Standing up and watching me shave I told the doctor to prescribe me a woman I can’t go on this way Involuntary erection That’s what happened to me I got this involuntary erection And that nurse has a cure for me They sent me home and I scared my wife I said wait a minute honey you could save my life I think you’re in the best possible position To be my very favorite physician And fix my involuntary erection That’s what happened to me When my parachute didn’t open And I fell a thousand feet And when you fall too hard on your back And your nerves don’t know how to react You get an involuntary erection There’s only one cure for me I got this involuntary erection And there’s only one cure for me © 2013 SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music © 2013 Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP)
6.
Secrets 03:47
SECRETS Kathi Long / Darrell Scott You can't see me, but I'm right here You can talk talk talk talk about me, but I can hear what you say I'm not invisible but you think I am I could scream my pain at you but you will never understand The secrets that I hold Secrets can't be told You have your hopes and dreams that fly far away Me I'm behind my prison bars praying lord help me thru another day These secrets can't be told Secrets that I hold I am burdened with the shame and your conscience is free I'm shackled to your past and you'll never know just what you've done to me With these secrets No one can touch me I think I'd break This souvenir you've left me gave me more than this one soul can take I'm in slow motion I can't be alone My thoughts are my enemy, my enemy is everywhere I go I got secrets that I hold Secrets can't be told I'm falling in the dark you're rising in the sun My scars keep getting deeper you'll never see the damage you have done Hey, whose secrets do I hold Whose secrets can't be told I know your secret SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music / I Imagine Music (ASCAP)
7.
I FOUND WHAT I'VE BEEN MISSING Chris Chirco / A.J. Merrifield / Darden Smith I was silent for so long I couldn’t listen to a song I sat around the house and I couldn’t even watch TV I just watched the world go by When from the corner of my eye I saw you walking, I saw you walking right up to me I found what I’ve been missing Someone who will listen Someone who will listen to my soul I’d forgotten how to feel I’d forgotten what was real I’m open for the first time in so long Now I’ve let you in I’m ready to begin To find the man, the man in me I thought was gone I found what I’ve been missing Someone who will listen Someone who will listen to my soul Let the tears wash away The darkness of my day Let the fire inside of me burn again Let the fire inside me be my friend I found what I’ve been missing Someone who will listen Someone who will listen to my soul
8.
Freedom Song 02:18
FREEDOM SONG Winni Smith / Darden Smith I’ve never heard a freedom song But I’ve heard the songs of a soldier The tapping of his feet On slap boards like a drum A soldier who has no freedom I’ve never heard the freedom songs But I’ve hear the songs of my people The soldier marching The one whose soul Has been played like a banjo Still I never heard a freedom song But yet I heard the cries In the silver rain I’ve heard his pain And when I ask what’s wrong He says a soldier has no song If you hear a freedom song If you hear them marching Know that it’s a soldier Whose soul Has been played like a banjo
9.
WE WERE WATCHED OVER Dustin Wright / Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith Humvee in the middle of the night Racing home before the morning light Presence patrol doing what we were told to do Out of nowhere an IED Blew up right in front of me Tower of fire somehow we made it through We were watched over We were watched over We were watched over From above We took incoming all night long Hitting us hard till the dawn Then came that moment time froze for me I heard the whistle I saw the flash I felt the gravel hit my back Gave me good reason to get down on my knees I knew… Yeah we were trained and we were doing our job Someone else was calling those shots Something divine protected us You can call it karma call it luck But I know we were saved that night by love
10.
THE WAY I CAME Kathi Long / Darden Smith / Gary Nicholson I ain’t listened to a song in a long, long time I couldn’t let the world inside of my mind I feel so tired from carrying a heavy load I open my eyes and just see a long, long road I wish I could go home the way I came Be the girl I was before my whole world changed I wish my tears could wash away the pain And I could just go home the way I came All the hurt, the tears it’s hard to cope I’m tired of waking up with no hope The ones I love should not have to live Knowing that I’ve got little left to give I’d love to have some love I’d love to have some peace I’d love to come in from the cold I just want to be The girl I used to be I don’t want to cry anymore I don’t want to cry anymore © 2013 Darden Smith Music © 2013 Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP) © 2013 SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
11.
WHAT I GOTTA DO Jay Clementi / Dustin Crites We use to drive out, to Trinity Levee Put makeshift hammock on the roof of that Chevy Falling in love, making plans in the moonlight Staying up all night Always felt just right with you Baby with you You got a way about you like no one else So beautiful put everyone before yourself I had it all somewhere along the way Got turned around forgot about the vows I said that day To you Baby to you Wish that I never would have let you down It's too late can't go back Wish that I could somehow Get back our love It was me it wasn't you Tell me what I gotta do What I got, what I got, what I gotta do What I got, what I got, what I gotta do If we could make it back through hell again I know we'd be closer than we've ever been Baby we can do this don't listen to the doubt I know we can make it but I can't do it without you Baby without you Wish that I never would have let you down Can't go back it’s too late Wish that I could somehow Get it back the way it was Wish that I never would have let you down Don't give up let me make it up to you somehow Got to get back to our love It was me it wasn't you Tell me what I gotta do
12.
Here I Am 03:01
HERE I AM Winni Smith / Darden Smith Here I am in colors beyond imagination Red for the blood I’ve shed Blue for the tears running down Brown for my earthly connections Black for the darkness that surrounds me Through it all Here I stand Here I am Here I am through all their smoke filled lies Like wipe your face, stand firm, it didn’t hurt You didn’t see that don’t cry They’d say you’re in the military now don’t go embarrassing the brass Get your head back up Well I say you can kiss my ass Cause I am strong Here I stand Here I am (Spoken) I’ve lost my sisters and brothers I’m not gonna let it bring me down Cause here I stand here before you To tell you what’s true I stand here for me And I stand for them too Yes here I am full of desire, hope and courage Affection, innocence, pride and peace I didn’t think I would ever get here I didn’t think I would rise above But in the darkness I remembered I remembered love Yeah baby, here I am Take a deep breath Let it out Yes baby here I am Boldly stand before you, here I am Finally, finally, finally, here I am Here I am…
13.
SOMETHING BIGGER THAN MYSELF Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith / Dustin Wright I guess for me it’s never been about me It’s always about someone else I find someone in need I start trying to see Some way that I can help Serve something bigger than myself Find a way that I can help Bring the world a little more light Try to turn some wrong to right And serve something bigger than myself Trying to find a way I signed up one day It took me to a foreign land Found people just like us looking for a little more love All a part of a higher plan I want to… I made some sacrifice Trying to do what’s right Everything changed while I was gone Looking in my children’s eyes I realize There’s so much to give right here at home I know I can …
14.
A CALL TO PRAYER A.J Merrifield / Chris Chirco / Stacy Pearsall / Jay Clementi They call it a call to prayer Five AM I'm lying there It echoes loud through a foreign land In a language I don't understand Those speakers preaching bout their lord was like nails on a chalkboard To this American boy missing home, kept reminding me just how far I'm gone God is good God is great I think that's what they say One thing’s for sure about this place It will make, or it’ll break your faith Your faith Well Upchurch was good as gold He had a lion’s heart and a giving soul I told him for patrol one day I had a stogy with his name And we'd light one up when we got back, but we never got the chance for that He went down and when I heard, I knelt down in that dusty, empty plywood church God is good God is great I think that's what they say One thing’s for sure about this place It will make or it’ll break Your faith There’s not much out here to lean on You’re surrounded by all this hate And that's why you need your brothers And that's why you need your faith God is good God is great I think that's what they say One thing’s for sure about this place It will make and it’ll break Your faith Sometimes I wonder who He's really listening to Is it us or is it them, or does it even matter in the end
15.
CHASING DOWN A HERO Todd Hanna / Jay Clementi My dad left when I was five Slowly vanished from my life Missed my high school graduation And the day I took my wife I'd drive slowly by his house But he never came outside I've been chasing down a hero Damn near all my life There's a missing part of my soul I'm trying desperately find Someone that leads the way It's all gonna be okay Yeah just out there on my own While I'm chasing down a hero So the few the proud the marines Sounded pretty damn good to me Just needed a hero So I signed the dotted line In the trenches and the convoys They were right there by my side I've been chasing down a hero Damn near all my life There's a missing part of my soul I'm trying desperately find Someone that leads the way It's all gonna be okay Yeah just out there on my own While I'm chasing down a hero I've looked in the mirror 'cross town and overseas And finally found them, right in front of me I've been chasing down a hero Damn near all my life That missing part of my soul Was my children and my wife With love they lead the way It's all gonna be okay I'm not out there on my own While I'm chasing down a hero I'm no longer on my own Cause I found my heroes
16.
Fallen Angel 03:59
FALLEN ANGEL Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson He was a one in a million kind of guy The first one out the last to leave The one you want by your side We talked about our kids We talked about our dreams When he went down I went down with him He took a part of me Fallen angel you will always fly There's a place for you in the sweet by and by Back to your home waiting in the sky Fallen angel you will always fly The hardest thing I ever had to do Was collect his things and clean out his room Pictures of his children All the letters from his friends No one could imagine It would all come to an end Fallen angel you will always fly There's a place for you in the sweet by and by Back to your home waiting in the sky Fallen angel you will always fly The hardest thing i ever had to do Was clean his room
17.
FUNERAL DETAIL A.J. Merrifield / Gary Nicholson I’m the one who hands the flag to the family One last reminder of everything they’ve lost We all pledge allegiance to The red, white, and blue And honor the ones that paid the cost I can’t let a tear reveal The sadness that I feel I just say the words I know are not enough We just hear Taps play Salute and walk away They’re gone without the one they love I’m the one who hands the flag to the family A symbol of the sacrifice they’ve seen I take away the hope they’ve held on to That maybe it’s all a bad dream Some bring it home and place it on the mantle Some just want to hide it away I just hide how I feel and make that same speech Knowing there’s nothing I can say I’m the one that hands the flag to the family Their eyes will haunt me always I’m just a soldier on a funeral detail With a speech and nothing I can say I’m just a soldier on a funeral detail With a speech and nothing I can say

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Songwriters include Jay Clementi, Darrell Scott, Gary Nicholson and Darden Smith.

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released June 21, 2013

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SongwritingWith:Soldiers Nashville, Tennessee

SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a non-profit 501c (3) organization.

Our Mission: We transform lives by using collaborative songwriting to expand creativity, connections, and strengths.

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